REFERENDUM LETTERS: Your country, your decision, your future

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In his letter advising young people who are thinking of voting to remain in the European Union, UKIP’s John Hayter states: “It’s your future that’s at stake and taking the advice of self-serving elites who have lined their pockets at the public’s expense is a dangerous game.”

Undoubtedly, a true statement, except that the bit about “self-serving elites” may be applied to some on both sides of the debate.

Some of us simply feel that, on the balance of facts, our country would be better off continuing to be a member of Europe.

He goes on to say that youth unemployment in most EU countries is “between 30 to 50 per cent”.

I would like to know where he gets his figures from. I looked them up and, according to the Statistics Portal, only six of the 28 EU states have a youth unemployment figure of 30 per cent and above.

Most EU countries’ youth unemployment stands at between 6.9 per cent and 25.1 per cent. Britain’s is currently 13.4 per cent.

I suspect that Mr Hayter’s real concern is about Eastern Europeans who have come to live and work in our area, so it’s worth noting that youth unemployment in Poland is at 20 per cent, while Romania (20.9 per cent), Latvia (18.2 per cent) and Hungary (14.4 per cent) are only slighter higher than the UK. These are facts.

I also take exception to his statement that “this country is on the skids”. There are many things wrong with our country but, despite all our recent financial trouble, we are still the fifth best performing economy in Europe.

I believe that is because of our EU membership, partnerships and trade. Yes, trade – the lifeblood of a great nation.

I advise anybody to stand by the Pinchbeck roundabout of the A16 and count the number of lorries with EU plates coming in and out, carrying our goods and produce.

Alternatively, go down to any port serving the continent and see the enormous volume of lorries travelling to and from Europe, or look in the fields and factories in this area and see the contribution being made by EU citizens working here and then spending their income in our shops and businesses or in renting local properties.

I believe that local immigrants contribute enormously to our area and its wealth.

What a nasty word immigrant has become. Why don’t we say expats just like we do for Britons living abroad?

Goodness knows the EU is far from perfect, but let’s strive to improve it from a position of strength on the inside.

What will happen to this country if we leave the EU? Nobody knows.

I do not support the current government or any political party – all recent governments have done good things and bad things and we can vote them out if we don’t like them – that’s democracy. Incidentally, despite popular myth, the same can be said of the EU. Our MEPs are voted in by us.

So, young people, please make a decision based on facts because arguments without a basis in fact are, at best, hearsay and, at worst, downright prejudice.

Find as many facts as you can from both sides of the debate and make your informed decision.

It will be your country. Your decision. Your future.